We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to show you personalized content and targeted ads, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. By browsing our website, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.


  • The island of Crete, which has remained a favorite holiday destination for Finns for decades, always surprises again with its wide range of culture, sights and activities. With a size of over 8,300 square kilometers, Greece's largest island has an incredible amount of things to experience and see. Crete delights both hikers and plant enthusiasts enjoying nature trails, as well as lovers of high-quality food and drink.
    Crete has a multi-stage history from the cradle of the Minoan culture to part of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Venetians also played a large role in the development of Crete's infrastructure, as during their rule, Crete became one of the most important trading centers in the Venetian empire. The Ottoman era and the Second World War are also visible in the street scene with buildings and monuments.
    As a beach holiday destination, Crete serves families with children as well as tourists looking for exotic gems. The Preveli palm forest, one of the largest in Europe, brings a piece of the Caribbean to the shores of the Mediterranean. Those looking for experiences can also find the turquoise Balos lagoon and the pink Elafonis beach in Crete. A cruise day to the pirate island of Gramvousa is suitable for travelers of all ages, from avid snorkelers to sun worshippers.
  • What makes Crete so popular?
    The scope of services and convenient availability are keywords for Crete's popularity. Public transport takes tourists to cities and beach destinations at regular intervals. Taxi journeys are inexpensive compared to the price level in Finland, and Greek food is to the taste of Finnish tourists. The climate is warm from spring to autumn, and rainy days do not often surprise during the season. From the point of view of plant enthusiasts, Crete is a paradise on earth. The island is divided in the east-west direction by a mountain range of up to two kilometers, which divides Crete into a green north side and a drier south side. In addition to this, hundreds of gorges cut through the mountains in the north-south direction, which have created their own special microclimates for Crete over the millennia. Thanks to microclimates, many plant and animal species have survived natural upheavals, such as from the last ice age to the present day. There are nearly 200 indigenous plant species in Crete alone.
    Crete also offers great camping and hiking terrains. One of the most popular routes is probably the 16 kilometer long Samaria gorge in the Lefka Ori mountains. The 11-kilometer hike in the Imbros gorge is also popular with hikers. You can go on a lighter hike, for example, to the ruins of a defensive castle from the Ottoman period on the Askifou plain.

    Sights of Crete
    Frangokastello. The small village of Frangokastello on the south coast of Crete has lovely little tavernas, good quiet beaches and the famous Frangokastello fortress from the 14th century. The journey to Frangokastello on the coast of the Libyan Sea is 55 km from Chania and 80 km from Rethymnon. On the way, you should also stop by the neighboring village of Chóra Sfakíon.
    Elafonisi Beach. One of the most famous beaches in Crete is the bright pink Elafonisi. You can get to the beach by rental car, taxi or bus from the center of Chania.
    Vai Beach. Crete's largest palm forest Vai Beach is a small piece of the Caribbean on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. There are guided day trips to the area in English.
    Preveli's palm forest. The Caribbean atmosphere is also available closer to the cities of Chania and Rethymnon. A day trip to Preveli can be spent lounging on the beach and getting to know Preveli's spectacular Orthodox monastery.
    Seitan Limani Beach. A 20-kilometer drive from Chania, on the Akrotiri peninsula lies a true sun worshiper's paradise, Seitan Limani. The access to the beach is along a steep path, so pack good shoes.
    Palace of Knonnos. Minoan culture flourished in Crete during the Bronze Age around 3100–1100 BC. In the winding palace of Knossos, you can get to know the pre-Hellenic architecture and the life of the people of that time.
    Samaria gorge. The Samaria gorge, representing the longest gorges in Europe, is the number one favorite hiking destination for tourists. The 16-kilometer hiking trips are organized mainly in English. Please ask the guide if there are tours in Finnish during your vacation.
    Arkadi Monastery. 25 kilometers from the city of Rethymnon is the Orthodox Arkadi Monastery. Unesco has recognized the Arkadi Monastery as a European Freedom Monument, and today it is home to a community of seven monks who take care of the area.
    The old town of Chania, the port area built by the Venetians, buildings from the Ottoman era and fascinating cobblestone alleys invite the traveler to breathe in architecture that is hundreds of years old. There are wonderful boutiques, taverns and museums around the old town of Chania, where there is enough to see for several days.
    Balos. The lagoon of Balos, shimmering in turquoise tones, is a favorite destination for tourists. You should go to Balos by a cruise ship, which also stops at the pirate island of Gramvousa.
    Fortétza Fortress. Rethymnon's most important landmark is the Fortétza Fortress built by the Venetians. The huge structure has functioned in history, among other things, as the center of Turkish administration. On a trip to the fortress, you should also stop by the Rethymnon Archaeological Museum.
    Spinalónga. The island of Spinalónga, which served as a leper colony, is familiar to many from the book Saari written by Victoria Hislop. During the summer, boats carrying tourists leave for the island every hour from the villages of Eloúnta and Pláka.
    Cemetery of German soldiers. In the village of Maleme, less than 20 kilometers from the center of Chania, there is a cemetery of German soldiers from the Second World War. 4,500 soldiers are buried in the area maintained by the German organization. Entrance to the cemetery, located on an impressive hill, is free of charge.
    Allied Cemetery. In Soudanlahti, near Chania Airport, there is a cemetery of allied soldiers. The cemetery is on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in a quiet location and the area is easily accessible. Free entry.

    For a beach holiday in Crete
    Crete has more than 1000 kilometers of coastline. The long coastline can accommodate many types of bays and coves with sand and cobblestone streams. If you spend your vacation in the Hania area, the beaches with the finest sand and the most peaceful beaches in terms of number of visitors are located between the city of Hania and the resort village of Agia Marina. The small beaches of Agioi Apostoloi such as Paralia Agii Apostoli, Iguana Beach and Hrisi Akti are worth visiting and can be reached conveniently by local buses. There are wonderful little beach bars in the area, where you can buy, for example, Greek black iced coffee, freddo espresso, sweetened to suit your taste. A great choice for a scorching hot day at the beach!
    The city of Rethymnon is bordered by one continuous 12-kilometer long beach, where the best services can be found at the western end of the beach. The sand in the area is fine and the water is mostly slowly deepening. When the northerly winds blow deeper in the water, currents may form, which you should watch out for when going on longer swimming trips.

    When staying in Hersonissos, the best beach, the long and slowly deepening Stalis, is located about 5 kilometers from the resort. Hersonissos is a great full-service destination for golfing and relaxation. The village is sparsely populated and it is only 25 kilometers from the capital of Crete, Heraklion.

    Several more distant beaches can be reached from the resorts by public transport, but some destinations have to be driven by a rental car. Please note that rental car insurance does not cover all damage to cars on gravel roads. For example, Balos beach can be reached by car, but if the car gets damaged while driving on a small road in poor condition, the insurance may not cover them. We recommend going to Balos lagoon from Kissamos harbor by boat. Ships run daily and tickets do not need to be booked in advance.

    Getting around in Crete
    Almost all attractions in Crete can be reached by rental car, taxi or public transport. If you are thinking about renting a car, there are also guided bus tours around Crete for every day of your vacation. Excursion buses go to the palace of Knossos, the pink beach of Elafonis, as well as for hikes along the bottom of the gorges.
    Around big cities, the bus is a cheap and convenient option for getting around. In Hania, local and city bus stations are located close to each other on Kidonias-katu. In Rethymnon, the bus station is located on the beach, walking distance from the Fortétza fortress to the west. There are two bus stations in Heraklion. Buses going in the direction of Chania and Rethymnon depart from Leof. From Ikarou street, near the port of Heraklion.
    Below are examples of the price level of taxis. Prices vary depending on the time of day. Not all taxis have taxi meters, so agree on the price of the upcoming trip when you leave.
    Chania old town – Chania airport approx. 25 €
    Chania's old town – Kato Daratso approx. 10 €
    The old town of Hahia – Platanias approx. 17 €

    All major cities in Crete have a wide selection of Greek and international clothing stores as well as smaller shops and markets. After shopping and the atmosphere, you should visit the traveling markets, whose selection includes, in addition to handicrafts, fresh vegetables, dried herbs, local cheeses and olives.
    Handicrafts are available, from leather and linen products to lace handkerchiefs and natural sponges. You can buy postcards, magnets and beach clothes for the holiday at the souvenir stalls. 

    The largest department store Jumbo, which is especially popular with families with children, is an affordable and versatile shopping place. Jumbo is located 4 kilometers from the old town of Chania and can be easily reached by local bus from the holiday villages on the coast.
    If you want to bring home Greek flavors, we recommend buying a bottle of retsína white wine flavored with Aleppon pine resin. Graviera goes well with wine-cheese, from which you can make wonderful saganaki fried in a pan at home. Cretans are especially proud of their twice-distilled pontic, tsikudia. The velvety soft tsikudi is suitable for serving, for example, with apple slices glazed with honey or orange cake, portokalopita.
    Many miss the taste world of Greek salads after the holidays. The secret of the salads is high-quality cold-pressed olive oil combined with crisp apple cider vinegar. Mixtures of spices are also used in the salads, which can be bought from, for example, the shopping hall and the market. Good apple cider vinegars can be found in all grocery stores in Crete. Finding good apple cider vinegar in Finland is challenging.

  • Nightlife
    In Crete's nightlife, you can meet locals, vacationers as well as university students studying in Crete, especially towards the end of the season. Crete's most important student cities, Heraklion and Hania, offer youthful clubs and nightspots for those who want them.

    The selection of taverns and pubs in Crete is endless. In connection with all holiday villages, there are several options to choose from. However, we recommend heading further away from the beaches towards the local settlements. In the small haunts of the island's inhabitants, you can enjoy the authentic atmosphere of thunder domes, live music and cheaper prices.
    For example, from the Platanias holiday village there are small roads towards the mountains. There is the upper village, Pano Platanias, which is inhabited by people who work in the area. Among other things, it is worth going there to look for more authentic restaurant experiences. The Platanias holiday village itself has several sports and cocktail bars as well as youthful nightclubs, not to mention karaoke domes.
  • Popular resorts
    The city of Chania is located in the western part of Crete near the Lefka Ori mountain range on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The versatile combination of green city and beach resort makes Chania the most popular of Crete's resorts.
    There is plenty to see and do in the famous Venetian harbor and the old town of Chania: there are boutiques, churches and mosques as well as cafes, museums and winding cobbled streets. The architecture shows the handprint of the Venetians and the Ottomans, but also a more modern neoclassical trend. In the old town, you can stop by taverns with meze and taste ouzo or double-distilled tiskoudi.
    Residential areas and holiday villages have been built along the coastline that stretches west from the city of Chania: Agioi Apostoloi 4.5 km, Kato Daratso 4.5 km, Stalos 8 km, Agia Marina 9.5 km, Platanias 11.5 km, Gerani 14 km, Maleme 17, 5 km*. * the number of kilometers tells the distance of the area from the center of Chania.

    Agioi Apostoloi and Kato Daratso are quiet areas inhabited by both tourists and locals. The journey to Chania's old town can be made along the beach, buses run frequently and a taxi ride from the hotel to the city is also inexpensive. The services to Agia Marina and Platania will become more frequent. Platanias is the center of holiday villages in the Chania region, whose nightlife attracts young and old alike.

    Kalyves and Almyrida
    The small fishing villages of Kalyves and Almyrida are located 20 kilometers east of the city of Chania. The destinations are perfect for families with children who want a relaxed and peaceful vacation, as well as for the older population. You won't find nightlife in these destinations, but you will find wonderful golden beach sand and beautiful boutiques and taverns.
    Inhabited since ancient times, the town of Rethymnon combines a peaceful family holiday, fascinating historical sights and an endless coastline. Rethymnon is the third largest of Crete's cities and is therefore not overshadowed by other destinations in its service offering.

    The location of Rethymnon is perfect also when considering the attractions of the surrounding areas. A short drive away is, for example, the family-friendly Patsos gorge, whose birdsong mingling with the gurgling of the water flowing at the bottom enchants with its wonder. Next to the gorge there is a restaurant and a small petting zoo, which will delight even the youngest members of the family.

    The most famous of Rethymnon's attractions is undoubtedly the Renaissance-style Fortétza fortress built by the Ottomans and the Venetians. The fortress is one of the largest in Greece and it hides wonderful architecture and mysticism inside.
    If you long for the heartbeat of a big city and a warm sun resort far away from other Finnish tourists, we recommend going on a self-guided trip to Heraklion.

    The capital of Crete, Heraklion, is located in the middle of the north coast of the island, 5 kilometers from the ancient palace of Knossos. In terms of infrastructure, Iraklion is the most developed and versatile of the cities of Crete. Life in a big city is youthful and rich in cultural offerings.
    The county of Lasithi is located in the eastern half of Crete. The car journey from Chania to Lasithi takes 4-5 hours, depending on traffic. The journey from Heraklion takes two hours. When planning your schedule, you should remember that trips do not always progress as smoothly in Greece as in Finland. Sometimes you might have to wait a long time, for example, for a herd of sheep crossing the road.

    However, the sights of the luxurious Lasithi county are worth the time it takes to travel. The area is home to, among other things, the exotic paradise beach Vai Beach, connected to Crete's largest palm forest. Lasithi also has the fabled Minoan city of Gournia, built in 1700 BC, and a stalactite cave on Mount Dikti, where the titan Rhea is said to have secretly given birth to the god Zeus from her husband Kronos.

  • Good to know
    Airlines: Several different airlines fly from Finland to Crete. At Aventours, we fly to the destination with Enter Air company planes.
    Airports: Chania Airport, Heraklion Airport, small Sitia Airport
    Distance to holiday destinations from Chania Airport: 20-30 minutes to destinations in the Chania area and 1.5 hours to Rethymnon
    Flight time: 4 hours
    Language: Greek
    Time difference: 0
    Population: about 630,000
    Passport: A Finnish citizen needs a valid passport or chipped identity card as a travel document to Greece.
    Currency: Euro
    Tipping: Not included in prices in restaurants. If you are satisfied with the service, you can tip 5-10% on top of the bill amount.
    Electricity: In Greece (220V 50Hz, power plugs and sockets are type C and F)
    Hotel tax: €0.50–€4 / room / night depending on the hotel classification. The hotel tax is paid in cash on the spot.
    Tap water: Generally clean and drinkable, but the water may have a mineral taste. We recommend drinking bottled water.
  • Three tips for vacationers in Crete
    1. Stand out in the market! Nothing beats the atmosphere of the Greek markets. There are fresh vegetables, cheeses and olives as well as fresh and dried wild herbs and oils. The offer varies from bags, shoes and clothes to recycled textiles and goods. Please ask your guide for the order places and times of the nearest markets.
    2. If you are staying in the Chania area, go on an adventure to the green Therisso Gorge and the idyllic Therisso village at the end of it. The village, located 10 kilometers from Hania, can be reached either by cycling along the bottom of the gorge, by riding The Little Fun Train or alternatively by car. We highly recommend tasting the products of the cheese boutiques: graviera, tirokafter, anthotiro and mizithra.

    3. Spend a day at military historical sites and monuments. In Maleme, you can see aircraft from the Second World War and visit the cemetery of German soldiers. You can learn more about the heartbreaking events that followed the battles of Crete in the Etz Hayyim synagogue in the old town of Chania.